Monday, September 30, 2013

"Our Town" 75th anniversary performance comes to Randolph College

Randolph College will mark the 75th anniversary of Our Town with two weekends of performances of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

Emily Sirney ’15 performs the role of the stage manager in a recent Our Town rehearsal.
First produced in 1938, Our Town tells the story of everyday life in Grover’s Corners, a fictional small town in New Hampshire. Performed on a sparse set where actors pantomime many of their actions, it focuses on the everyday life of the town’s residents. However, it has a much deeper meaning.

“It’s not just a play about a sleepy little town where people fall in love and die,” said Brooke Edwards, a Randolph theatre professor and director of the play. “It’s about the eternal nature of human beings. It is about quality of life and what is the important part of life.

“There is beauty and art to be found in everyday living, but do we take time to appreciate that? We don’t,” Edwards added. “Everything is so fast, we just miss it all. I think the world is revisiting this play because it really hits on that.”

Edwards chose to produce Our Town because, in addition to having an anniversary this year, it also has become a standard “rite of passage” for those working in theatre. Performed on a sparse set—Randolph’s production will use only four chairs and a ghost light—it challenges actors to grow and invites audiences to use their imaginations to explore the world of Grover’s Corners.

The cast includes 15 people, including Randolph students and members of the Lynchburg community. “Everyone has been cast and put into a position where they are going to feel the best about their ability and feel the best about what they are doing,” Edwards said.

Our Town will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4, 5, 6, 11, and 12 in the lab theatre, room 203 in the Leggett Building. General admission is $10, $8 for the Randolph community and for adults over 60, $5 for all students. Visit for tickets and information.

Berlind Symposium will examine link between war and art

An upcoming symposium at the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College offers the chance to learn how artists embrace and reflect on their Vietnamese heritage.

Anne Wilkes Tucker ’67
The 22nd annual Helen Clark Berlind Symposium will begin Saturday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. Three artists who have art featured in the 102nd Annual Exhibition: Contemporary Vietnamerican Art will be present to discuss their work. Anne Wilkes Tucker ’67, the well-known curator of the exhibition WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY, will deliver the keynote address. Tucker has served as the curator of photography for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Attending artists include Binh Danh, whose works in the exhibition include Vietnam War-era photographs printed on leaves and daguerreotypes of scenes in Yosemite National Park; Pipo Nguyen-duy, who has two photograph series represented in the exhibition; Thomas Thuấn Ðặng Vũ, creator of several abstract paintings depicting elements from his childhood in communist Vietnam. Each artist will present a talk about his work.

Bin Danh, Waiting
Tucker, a member of the Randolph College Board of Trustees, will discuss the concept of war photography, which she studied for more than 10 years while preparing an exhibition with thousands of photographs from combat and the aftermath of war. “This exhibition has three photographers, making it strong in photography,” said Martha Johnson, director of the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College. “It will be interesting to see what Anne has to say about how the experience of war is reflected in their work.”

Johnson also hopes people will engage in conversation with the artists and learn about how their art expresses the impact of war but arrives at deeper meanings. “It would be good for people to see that one can experience something as horrific as the Vietnam War and still be able to be very creative and expressive, and have a keen sense of the beauty in the world,” Johnson said. “I think that’s a really hopeful message.”

This Berlind Symposium was founded by friends of Helen Clark Berlind ’58 and always addresses themes relevant to the annual exhibition. “Its purpose is to extend the educational impact of the annual exhibition,” Johnson said. “There is a much richer benefit to the students to have scholars and artists come to deepen the interpretation of the exhibition.”

Find the detailed schedule for the 2013 Berlind Symposium here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Maier hosts documentary screening featuring artist in "Contemporary Vietnamerican Art" exhibition

Each artist represented in Contemporary Vietnamerican Art, the exhibition currently showing at the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, has ties to the Vietnam War. On Monday, the Maier will show a documentary about art and protest to shed more light on the messages in the exhibition.

The Maier will screen “Protest,” a segment in the PBS Series Art in the 21st Century, at 1 p.m. September 30. This segment focuses on the way artists use their art to engage in discussion about war, injustice, and current events. An-My Lê, a photographer represented in the Maier’s current exhibition, is one artist featured in this segment.

An-My Lê is the most well established of the five artists featured in the exhibition. Her interest lies primarily in photographing war without focusing on the combat experience. She attempts to capture the day-to-day events outside of battle. Contemporary Vietnamerican Art includes several of her early photographs that were taken at Vietnam War reenactments in Virginia.

Lê’s portion of the Art in the 21st Century Protest episode features her works done after the photographs in the Maier were created, so the viewers will be able to see what she has done more recently.

The documentary stands out because rather than using narrators, most of the speaking is done by the featured artists themselves.

Nancy Sparrow, who has pieces in the College's art collection, also has a part in the segment.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pumpkin Parade and other festivities set for Family Weekend

Festivities abound this weekend as Randolph College hosts its annual Family Weekend. Many students will welcome their parents and other friends and family members to campus for a weekend full of tradition and fun.

A highlight of the weekend is a favorite tradition, Pumpkin Parade. Throughout the week much crafting and decorating has been taking place as sophomores and seniors exchange small gifts, but the tradition will culminate over the weekend. On Friday at 3 p.m. sophomores will meet their seniors, pumpkin in hand, in front of Main Hall. This is the exciting moment when most seniors discover which sophomore has been leaving gifts for them all week. The finale occurs on Saturday evening as the seniors parade across campus with their carved pumpkins, sing with their sophomores, and enjoy an Even spirit-themed musical performance by Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman and other members of senior staff.

While crafting this week, Stephanie Barron ’14 has discovered meaning to Pumpkin Parade that goes beyond the bonding between a sophomore and senior. “I’m realizing more and more that it isn’t just about me,” said Barron. “I’m preparing my ‘pass downs’ to give them away. Some of these things go back six generations of Randolph students, and this is me passing on not just my legacy, but their legacy as well.”

Pumpkin Parade, however, is not the only event on Family Weekend. Friday will feature an a capella concert by Songshine and Voices, followed by a Skeller Sing. On Saturday, students and families are welcome to attend a variety of events and sessions such a student research showcase, guided tours of the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College or the Organic Garden, and a musical department performance. After Pumpkin Parade on Saturday, the Winfree Observatory will host a Star Party for everyone.

Various athletic events will be held over the weekend as well. Friday, Women’s Volleyball will have a home game, starting at 7 p.m. in the Randolph Athletic and Dance Center. Saturday morning Randolph will serve as the finish line for the 40th annual Virginia 10 Miler. Also on Saturday, Randolph will host an Intercollegiate Horse Show at the Riding Center, which starts at 10:00 a.m. The women’s soccer will take on Emory & Henry College at 1 p.m. Saturday in WildCat Stadium, followed by the men's soccer team challenging Virginia Virginia Wesleyan College at 4:30 p.m.

Find the full Family Weekend schedule here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Randolph music groups prepared for upcoming concerts

Infused with new talent and energy, Randolph’s student music groups are looking forward to exciting concerts this year. The music begins with two Family Weekend concerts on Friday and Saturday, but it will continue with better and more challenging music as the year goes on.

Each group had record numbers of students audition, including many talented first-year students who will add their talents to the groups for the next four years.

Family Weekend Concerts

A Cappella Concert
featuring Songshine and Voices
Friday, Sept. 27, 4 p.m., Hampson Commons
Music Department Showcase
featuring Chorale and Touch of Harmony
Saturday, Sept. 28, 4 p.m., Wimberly Recital Hall
“In addition to having more performers, we actually have more accomplished musicians overall, too,” said Randall Speer, a music professor and conductor. “All of the groups are doing some pretty impressive repertoire.”

The additional talent is opening possibilities for performing musical pieces that Speer has wanted to introduce to the groups for some time.

Chorale, the College’s premiere performing ensemble, now has 26 students, including 16 first-year students and more male voices than the group has ever had. During the Family Weekend music department showcase, Chorale will perform a piece by Eric Whitacre, a popular American composer whose music often splits into eight different complex harmonies. This requires enough musicians to handle the complexity with confidence. “This Chorale can do that,” Speer said.

Chorale rehearses for their upcoming Family Weekend concert.
Touch of Harmony, a jazz group, is now at full capacity. They will perform Icarus, a jazz piece that Speer has always hoped to have a College group perform.

Voices and Songshine, Randolph’s student-run a cappella groups, also had incredible auditions. Each group has been working to prepare pieces for a concert on Friday of Family Weekend. “We’re really looking forward to our first major performance of the year,” said Chelsea Fox, president of Songshine.

Randolph’s Chamber Orchestra, created less than two years ago, now has 10 student musicians, including two local high school students. Although they do not have a concert on Family Weekend like the other ensembles, they have started learning a demanding symphony to be performed alongside a professional orchestra later this year. They also will perform with chorale in Christmas Vespers.

Speer is excited to see the way each student’s musical talent grows as they approach new challenges that come from complex and interesting music, rather than coming from smaller numbers.

“The literature itself is the thing that is really providing the vast majority of the challenge,” Speer said. “They can take pride in the fact that they’re learning this together and we’re going to do it.”

Bricks in Michels Plaza honor retired faculty

Randolph College recently honored the legacy of many retired faculty members by installing engraved bricks at one of the newest spots on campus.

Nearly 130 bricks surrounding the fountain at Michels Plaza feature the names of faculty emeriti. The bricks also indicate the departments in which the faculty members taught.

Michels Plaza was built behind Main Hall earlier this year in conjunction with the Student Center renovation. A gift from Mary Michels Scovaner ’77, a frequent supporter of Randolph College,  made the new plaza possible. The facility provides an outdoor meeting space with amphitheatre-style seating and a fountain. The project also involved extending a brick walkway across back campus. The walkway mimics the well-loved brick pathway on front campus.

“Now that the project is complete, I hope you will take time to visit the plaza and reflect on the service of these outstanding educators,” Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman said. “Future bricks will be added periodically for new faculty emeriti so that we may also pay tribute to their service.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

CNN journalist Josh Levs meets with Randolph students

“Journalism can now take place anywhere, any time, and even when others try to prevent it,”
CNN reporter Josh Levs recently told Randolph College students. But as modern technology allows almost anyone to become a journalist, the world actually has a greater need for professional journalists, he said.

Levs explained that professional journalists can bring fact checking, analysis, and ethical understanding to help people understand what is happening in the world.

Levs stressed that the important stories of our time are not the ones that dominate headlines, such as conflicts and political moves. “The story of our time is what is going on in science and technology,” said Levs. New technologies allow people to communicate with people around the world, including parts of the world that once were unreachable. One cell phone video posted online can be seen by millions of viewers and encourage people to take action.

Although many people can become the source of information, professional reporters can help consumers make sense about what they are seeing and hearing. “Journalists need to be the reality check,” said Levs. “Explanations are essential.”

Journalists also need to find ethical answers to questions about privacy. In a world where it is possible to capture people on film without their knowledge, journalists must decide what will be conveyed to audiences and what is an invasion of privacy. “You have to fight for what is right in this era of unlimited information,” he said.

Levs, who has earned nicknames such as “Truth Seeker in Chief” and “Mr. Reality” in his reporting career, came to Randolph as a guest of the communication studies department, which offers a multimedia journalism minor.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

High school students invited to weekend science, music, and dance classes

Two new Randolph programs are offering high school students the opportunity to participate in free college workshops in science, music, and dance this fall.

Learn more about Science Saturdays
Science Saturdays, a series of 10 weekend science programs, will take place every Saturday from October 5 through Dec. 14. Sessions will cover topics such as organic gardening, neuroscience with cockroaches, the science of dietary supplements, and the challenge of launching a rocket that can carry an egg safely to the ground.

“This is an opportunity to get a real hands-on, college laboratory experience,” said Peter Sheldon, a Randolph physics professor who helped plan Science Saturdays. “Science Saturdays provides a great opportunity for students to explore diverse and engaging science topics.”

Learn more about Randolph: First String
Randolph: First String is a full-day program with Luca Trombetta, a Randolph music instructor, on October 19. “Luca is a fabulous musician who has played in some significant venues under some very significant conductors, and we’re very fortunate to have him,” said Randall Speer, a music professor coordinating Randolph: First String.

Participants in the program will perform pieces from an audition package for Trombetta and Speer. “We will critique the strength of the audition itself and give them pointers on what they should do to strengthen that audition,” Speer said. “It will be valuable information for them.”

Trombetta also will lead a master class in which selected participants will play their instruments on stage. Trombetta will then help these students improve their skills, allowing the participants in the audience to discover ways they can address challenges in their own playing.

The Randolph College Department of Dance also will host a master class for local high school students. Invitation to Dance will be held on October 26 with two classes taught by Dominique Palmer and Pam Risenhoover, as well as a forum for local dance instructors.

Randolph created Science Saturdays and Randolph: First String to reach out to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, introduce them to college-level instruction, and let them meet Randolph’s nationally-acclaimed faculty. Both of these programs are free, but seats are limited. Learn more about these programs, and register to attend, at and

Alumna wins Mid-Atlantic Emmy for video about autism center

Courtney Brinkerhoff-Rau ’86 has won another Emmy for her video storytelling work.

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) awarded presented the Mid-Atlantic Emmy for a video Brinkerhoff-Rau produced for the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support.

“There are so many fascinating stories out there, and I love the opportunity to tell people’s stories, especially when it can be used to educate people about something that needs attention,” she said.
Courtney Brinkerhoff-Rau, front row, right, received the Emmy accompanied by her daughter, Ann Elisabeth Rau,
Ian Rowe Nicholls, and representatives of the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support. Photo: Top Guns Photography.
Brinkerhoff-Rau worked in the news industry for 25 years, working for news groups such as CNN (alongside Candy Crowley ’70), Knight-Ridder, and Fox. She has won several Emmy awards along the way. As she progressed, she found herself spending more time in management and less time producing journalism, her real passion. Three years ago, Brinkerhoff-Rau decided to start her own production company dedicated to helping clients tell their stories through video.

She has developed a technique for effective fundraising campaign videos, inspired by her analysis of ineffective videos she has endured over the years. “There’s really a craft and a unique way that you tell a story,” she said. “I figured out a good formula for how to get people to watch and pay attention.”

Leaders of the Kinney Center, an autism education program offered by St. Joseph’s University, approached Brinkerhoff-Rau in 2012. She conducted on-camera and off-camera interviews with autistic students in the program, their parents, college students who work with them, and the program’s administrators. The finished film debuted in September 2012 and has been successful in both raising money for the Kinney Center and increasing awareness of the need for autism education.

This was one of her favorite projects because of the inspiring stories it captured—children who met true friends at the Kinney Center, college students who found their passion in education, and parents who found hope. “I’ve done a million stories, but every once in a while there is one that really sticks with me,” Brinkerhoff-Rau said. “This was one of them. This piece was very inspiring to me personally. What a pleasant surprise that it ended up winning an Emmy.”

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Prize-winning poet begins Visiting Writer series on Wednesday

Just last week, Patricia Smith won the award for writing the best poetry book published in 2012. This week, Smith will be reading some of that prize-winning poetry at Randolph College.

Smith will open Randolph’s 2013-2014 Visiting Writer Series with a public reading at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Jack Lounge in Smith Memorial Hall.

“Patricia Smith is a force of nature, as a writer, as a teacher, as a performer,” said Laura-Gray Street, an English professor and the director of the Visiting Writer Series. “Her mojo is artistic precision and profundity with a Motown jive, making her the perfect opener for the fall Visiting Writers Series.”

Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, which won the Lenore Marshall Prize last week. She is the most successful poet in the history of the National Poetry Slam, winning that poetry performance contest four times.

The Randolph College English department also will take some time Wednesday to celebrate the College’s partnership with the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum. Shaun Spencer-Hester, the granddaughter of Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer and president of the museum, will attend the event.

“Spencer’s poetry and presence left a vital legacy both in Lynchburg and in national history,” Street said. “Bringing together these two energies—Patricia Smith and Anne Spencer—for Wednesday’s reading and celebration will be powerful.”

The Visiting Writer Series brings authors to campus throughout the year to talk about their craft with students and give public readings. All visiting writer readings are free and open to the public.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Randolph hosts CNN reporter for "The New Era of Journalism"

Josh Levs has earned nicknames such as “Truth Seeker in Chief,” “Mr. Reality,” and “Senior Everything Correspondent” thanks to his undying work ethic and his innovative approach to journalism. On Thursday, he will talk with Randolph students about how to approach journalism today.

Levs will present “The New Era of Journalism” at 7 p.m. Thursday in Nichols Theatre in the Randolph College Student Center. He will address the challenges of reporting in the multimedia journalism age, when news can be written, shared, and commented on by anyone on a blog or on social media websites. Levs is well known for his own savvy use of social media to collect and share news.
“Josh’s talk will be particularly interesting to students because he is keenly aware of the changes in journalism with the rise of new media,” said Jennifer Gauthier, a communication studies professor. “I want students to really think about how they can help create positive change in the world through new media forms. Josh has done just that. He will be an excellent role model for ethical engagement in the world using new media technologies.”
In his years of working for National Public Radio and CNN, Levs has collected many high honors in journalism, including five Peabody Awards and two Edward R. Murrow Awards. A scholarship in his name is awarded at Yale, his alma mater.
The event is free and open to the public.

Brazilian music concert set for Sept. 20

Brazilian rhythms and melodies will energize the Presser Hall this Friday when Musica Brasileira comes to Randolph College.

Three local college professors who have lived and taught in Brazil will present an eclectic program featuring various genres of Brazilian music and the works of some of the best-known Brazilian composers. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Wimberly Recital Hall.

Armenio Suzano, left, Carol Hill, and Leon Neto will perform Musica Brasileira on Sept. 20.
“We are blessed to have these extraordinarily talented musicians bring us the music and culture of Brazil,”  said Chad Beck, a communication studies professor and coordinator of Randolph’s new Latin American studies minor. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for cultural and intellectual exchange  between the communities of Randolph, Sweet Briar, and Liberty, as well as the greater Lynchburg community.”

The performers have amassed decades of experience  with Brazilian music. Armenio Suzano, who became the youngest member of the Rio de Janeiro Opera House Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15, is now director of the Liberty University (LU) Symphony Orchestra.

Leon Neto, another LU faculty member, has worked with on almost 100 different albums of Brazilian music as a producer, musician, and arranger.

Carol Hill, a professor at Sweet Briar College, rounds out the trio. She has spent many years serving as a missionary in Brazil, where she coordinated the music department at the Equatorial Baptist Theological Seminary and later taught at the Carlos Gomes Conservatory of Music.

The music Friday night will include genres such as Samba, Bossa Nova, and Baiâo, as well as several classical pieces from celebrated Brazilian composers. The performance will highlight works from Noel Rosa, Pixinguinha, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Tom Jobim. The musicians will provide introductions to each piece, informing the listeners of the genre, instrumentation, and translation of lyrics, as necessary.

Musica Brasileira is sponsored by the Ernie Duff Latin American Studies Fund and the Diversity Enrichment Program Committee.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Monks teach students about culture, patience, and sacred art

Will Andress ’17 spent a lot of time in his second week of college talking with Tibetan monks and watching them work on art that is sacred to them.

A group of Buddhist monks from Tashi Kyil Monastery spent the past five days at Randolph building a sand mandala—a colorful work of art made by placing thousands of grains of sand to depict symbols sacred in Tibetan Buddhism. They created an Avalokitesvara mandala representing the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

“I have always been interested in the Eastern religious traditions, and the monks were certainly knowledge about that,” Andress said. “On a more general level, I wanted to spend time with them to see their perspective, which would be vastly different from my own.”

Andress learned more about the monks’ religious practices and their language. He also spent some time watching the men build the intricate mandala, which they made in nearly complete silence by leaning over a platform to drop a few grains of sand at a time. Seeing their patience caused Andress to ponder his attitude towards life. “Many times I become too wrapped up and worried about everyday life,” he said. “I need to live in what is happening in the present.”

In addition to creating the mandala, the monks answered questions following a popular film about a monastery and performed a cultural presentation. On Wednesday, after they finished the mandala, they allowed members of the Randolph community and the general public to come get a closer look at the mandala. Then the monks completed their work with a ceremony that involved wiping the sand to destroy the mandala pattern and pouring the sand into a creek.

“I learned that for them, destroying the beautiful mandala that they had worked so hard to build over the last couple of days was not a difficult process for them because they understood that nothing is permanent, including the Mandala,” Andress said.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dean of students starts new program to connect with students

Students now have a new place to share feedback about life at Randolph—over lunch with the dean of students.

Every other Wednesday, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Matha Thornton will hold an open lunch in the President’s Dining Room, located on the first floor of Bell Hall directly off the dining hall, from noon to 1 p.m. She welcomes students to come and dine with her.

“I want students to be able to see me when they need to talk,” Thornton said. “This will not be the only time, but just one they can count on.”

Thornton recognized that she could have held “office hours,” but she wanted to make it easier for students in order to encourage them to start a dialogue with her. The bi-weekly lunches will a guaranteed outlet in which to air their concerns on a regular basis.

In addition to concerns and input on campus life, Thornton also is interested in hearing about students’ daily lives and finding out more about the experience they are having at Randolph.

“I hope that this program shows that we have an open community where we can work through issues together,” said Thornton, “I mean it sincerely when I say that I want students to share their experiences with me, good and bad.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Alumna's unprecedented exhibition Receiving more national attention

Anne Wilkes Tucker '67
An exhibition curated in part by alumna and Board of Trustee member Anne Wilkes Tucker '67 is receiving more national attention, this time on PBS NewsHour.

Tucker, curator for photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) worked with colleagues to create War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath. The exhibition opened last year and explores the experience of war through the eyes of photographers. The show features 480 objects and photos from more than 280 photographers from 28 nations. The powerful exhibition spans 165 years of conflicts all over the world, beginning with the Mexican-American War in 1847.

The PBS piece is available here

To read more about Tucker, please see the article in the November 2012 issue of Randolph magazine:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Find internship opportunities Wednesday at Internship Match-Up

Randolph students have an awesome opportunity to find the perfect internship Wednesday.

Internship Match-Up will offer students the chance to meet representatives from local companies and organizations who provide internships for students who want hands-on experience with career options. Some companies will be ready to offer internships on the spot.

Internship Match-Up

When: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Phase 2, 4009 Murray Pl, Lynchburg, VA 24501
How to get there: Catch a shuttle that will leave from Main Hall every 30 minutes, or follow these directions
Why: To find amazing opportunities to test drive career options.

Find out more about what an internship will offer you by attending the "Spotlight on Internships" student panel at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 in Darden Two, or read Summer 2013 internship stories.
The event was organized by Randolph College, two other local colleges, and the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. More than 50 employers from the region, including Genworth Financial, Lynchburg City Schools, and three Virginia political campaigns will have representatives there to discuss available internships.

Completing an internship during college is critical to a student’s preparation for life after graduation, said Maryam Brown ’02, internship coordinator. Internships are especially important for sophomores, who still have time to adjust their academic plans to incorporate what they learn about their prospective careers during an internship.

Also, internships open doors for the future. “Employers say that competitive job applicants have had one or two internships before graduating from College, and graduate school admissions boards are giving preference to applicants who have had the type of hands-on experience that comes through interning,” Brown said.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Clay Nunley featured in his alma mater's magazine

Clay Nunley, head men’s basketball coach at Randolph College, recently appeared in an article in the alumni magazine of his alma mater.

Goucher College’s magazine featured Nunley in the story about Goucher graduates who have shown the ability to lead and motivate others. The article talks about how Nunley founded and built the men’s basketball program at Randolph. After just a few years, the team played in the conference championship for two years in a row, and this year was chosen to compete in the NCAA Division III tournament.

In the article, Nunley gave credit to his players, especially the first student-athletes he recruited to Randolph, who refused to give up.

“If there ever was a moment where the importance of character showed through, it was with that first class,” Nunley told Goucher Quarterly. “There were so many moments where kids with less character would have said, ‘This is too hard. I’m not up for this.’ These kids remained committed, and the end result was a senior season with a lot of success.”

You can read the article here, or download a PDF from this page.

Randolph magazine also has featured stories detailing Nunley’s perspective on building leaders through athletics and the team’s fight to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship game.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Environmental poetry anthology garners great reviews

A poetry anthology co-edited by Randolph English professor Laura-Gray Street has been generating great reviews and conversations about the environment.

The Ecopoetry Anthology includes hundreds of poems about nature and the environment. The poems date from the mid-nineteenth century to today and include poets such as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound, and Muriel Rukeyser. Street compiled the anthology with Ann Fisher-Wirth, a poet and professor at the University of Mississippi. The poet Robert Haas wrote an introduction, and Trinity University Press published the book in February.

The book has drawn significant interest and praise in reviews. “It’s a must-read for everyone concerned with our disappearing environment,” said one reviewer.

“Poetry might not derail the course we’re on, but the poems gathered here just might soothe what ails us,” stated another reviewer, who added that the anthology does a good job of portraying the way poetry responded to growing understanding of the world and the impacts human activity has on nature. “These poets wrestled with the radical shift in consciousness brought on by scientific breakthroughs, and promoted astonishing growth in the field of poetics.”

 “I’ve always thought poetry could change the world,” a third reviewer wrote. “With the best energies of Robert Hass, Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street, and these assembled poets, I believe we have a chance.”

Street and Fisher-Wirth recently gave interviews that have been published in Poecology and Orion Magazine.

Street said that a substantial amount of her work on the anthology was completed during the Randolph College Summer Research program with the assistance of Ashley Hale ’08 and Anneka Freeman ’10.

First-years use "golden pigs" to contribute to Annual Fund

The Class of 2017 is raising money for the Randolph College Annual Fund with the help of a golden pig named Notorious P.I.G.

At a recent event, College staff introduced the first-year students to the Annual Fund, which allows friends of the College to donate money which the College can then apply wherever it is needed most,.

Frasher Bolton, assistant director of the Annual Fund, explained how the contributions to the fund help make their educational experience richer. “You have chosen a College that is going to provide you with some very unique learning opportunities over these next four years, including an extremely low student-to-faculty ratio, highly personalized instruction, student-faculty collaboration in research and performance, amazing facilities, award-winning internships and study abroad opportunities, generous scholarships, and so on and so forth,” Bolton said. “Contributions to the Annual Fund make these ‘value added’ experiences possible for our students.”

The name Notorious P.I.G. was chosen by a vote among the Class of 2017. Each member of the class received a yellow piggy bank bearing the College’s logo. “Feed your pig,” Bolton said, encouraging the students to drop spare change into the piggy bank. The Annual Fund staff will collect the cash several times throughout the year.

For every $5 a first-year student contributes, he or she will earn a raffle ticket for prizes including Randolph College gear.

Glenna Gray ’14 told the first-years about some of her experiences, including curating an art exhibition and listening to inspiring speakers such as Maya Angelou. The Annual Fund helps  pay for those experiences.

“I know that, from where you are right now, you may think that your gift makes little difference.  But that could not be further from the truth,” she said. “Every gift matters! Your participation doesn’t just provide funds to help the College run and support its students’ endeavors, it is a public acknowledgement that you support Randolph, and are enthusiastic about what is going on here behind the Red Brick Wall. “

“I cannot think of a better place to study than here at Randolph, and I can thank the generous supporters of the Annual Fund for that,” said Sandeep Poudyal ’16. “Their support has helped create and maintain this beautiful campus, and I hope that you will appreciate being able to live, learn and socialize in such a wonderful place, and give back to a place that, I know, will give you so much.”

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Faculty, students honored during opening convocation

During opening convocation on Tuesday, the College paused to honor several faculty members and two students for outstanding achievements.

Mara Amster, an English professor, received the Gillie A. Larew Distinguished Teaching Award, which is named for a former student who returned to teach mathematics at the College for 46 years. This is the College’s oldest award for faculty.

Doug Shedd, the Catherine Ehrman Thoresen `23 and William E. Thoresen Professor of Biology, was honored with the Katherine Graves Davidson Award, which recognizes a member of the full-time faculty member who has been outstanding in bringing distinction to the College.

The Katherine Graves Davidson Scholarship award, which recognizes outstanding research, was awarded to Beth Schwartz, the Catherine E. and William E. Thoresen Chair in Social Sciences and assistant dean of the College. This award recognizes the importance of faculty research, scholarship, and achievement.

The Phi Beta Kappa Book Award is presented annually to the student with the highest grade point average following his or her sophomore year. This year, the award was given to two students with perfect grade point averages: Grace Gardiner ‘15 and Hart Gillespie ‘15.

Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman also took a moment to recognize Paula Wallace, associate dean of the College, who started her tenure at the College exactly 40 years ago. He credited Wallace with the development of the Randolph Plan, an advising program that guides students to the classes and co-curricular activities that will help them reach their goals. “It is in our advising that we truly offer something unique,” Bateman said.

Bateman challenges students to embrace liberal arts and pursue social justice in convocation

Randolph College rang in the new academic year on Tuesday with the largest first-year class in 28 years, a new president, and an audience of energized, cheering students, faculty, and staff. Smith Hall Theatre was filled with the traditional cheering and celebrating by the seniors and their sister class, the sophomores.

“This is absolutely the liveliest opening convocation I’ve ever been in, without a doubt,” said Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman.

Though the College faced challenges during its transition to coeducation, Bateman told the enthusiastic audience that it was a new day for Randolph College. “It's an exciting time to be behind the Red Brick Wall, and I think that this is an important moment in our history,” he said. “As a college, now is the time to define who we are and what we will be in the world.”

Jim Kwon ’14, student government president, compared the new school year to a journey, complete with goals, fun, but also bumps in the road. But it is worth the trip.

He reminded his fellow students of the great accomplishments of the College’s faculty, alumnae, and alumni. “This year, I would like to challenge Randolph to not only follow the footsteps of our great legacy, but perhaps outperform the legacy that we are proud of,” Kwon said.

Bateman challenged Randolph students to embrace the full experience of a liberal arts education like other Randolph students who went before them. “I don’t think there’s ever been a time when this kind of education has been more important,” he said.

Because of the economic transitions the world is experiencing, having a broad education and being adaptable are essential, he said. “We train people to think well, to communicate clearly, to work together in small groups. These are exactly the skills that are necessary in order to succeed in the world.”

The College prepares students for lives beyond their careers, Bateman said. “It prepares you for public service, and it prepares you for the pursuit of social justice.”

Bateman became emotional as he recounted how small, private liberal arts colleges have helped address difficult questions in American society and promoted freedom and equality for more people. He honored Randolph’s history as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, acknowledging the institution’s role in promoting women’s rights and its students efforts in the Civil Rights Movement.

But the fight for social justice and equality is not done. “There’s a lot of large work left to be done in the world, and what I really want to do today is call you to that work,” he said. “You will have many, many chances in your work, regardless of what you do, to make a difference, to speak out against wrong and to ask other people to do the right thing.”

Bateman encouraged them to promote equal rights and dignity for gays and lesbians, combat anti-intellectualism and the denial of science, and work to end poverty and hunger.

“I won't question your party affiliation, I won't question the ways that you want to get to social justice. We define that many different ways,” he said. “But the problems in the world that we face are clear, and you can’t turn your back on them. I believe that this faculty and your education will not let you do that.”

“All of us have a chance to leave our mark on Randolph College this year,” he added. “I hope you share my excitement in all that we can accomplish.”

Hear Bateman’s remarks here:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Exhibition highlights “Vietnamerican” art

Without ever showing a scene of combat, the art in Randolph College’s 102nd Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art tells the story of the Vietnam War and its legacy.

Binh Danh devised a way to print photos onto leaves. Several
pieces are in Contemporary Vietnamerican Art at the Maier.
The exhibition, titled Contemporary Vietnamerican Art, features the works of five artists who were born in Vietnam but now live and work in the United States. “All of the artists were affected by the Vietnam War, but they’re not singularly defined by it,” said Martha Johnson, director of the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College.

Each work has some connection to the artists’ Vietnamese heritage and childhood. Most also hearken to the war that ravaged the country 40 years ago, forcing some of the artists’ families to flee their home country.

The works include photographs displayed on leaves using a technique photographer Binh Danh developed, as well as more traditional photographs showing modern schoolchildren in Vietnam by Pipo Nguyen-duy.

Several black and white photographs by An-My Lê  capture scenes from Vietname War reenactments held in Central Virginia. Lien Truong’s surrealist paintings portray bomb craters that are transforming into pools from which new life springs.

Thomas Thuấn Ðặng Vũ’s abstract works are full of symbols—gas masks, loudspeakers that were used to spread communist propaganda, toys from his childhood, fresh fruit he once presented on an altar to his ancestors. “More than any of the other artists, he talks about his work as really digging through the images and feelings of his childhood as a cathartic process,” Johnson said.

The idea for this show grew from the 2012 exhibition, Bridges Not Walls, which focused on the art of several artists who have immigrated to America from several other countries. This year, Johnson wanted to narrow the focus to artists from one country. Because Randolph has more international students from Vietnam than from any other foreign country, it became the subject. Johnson discovered the term “Vietnamerica” in the title of a book a Vietnamese author wrote about his family.

The exhibition will open Thursday, Sept. 5, with a panel discussion at 6 p.m. The panel discussion will include two students from Vietnam, a student whose research has focused on Vietnam, and a local participant in Vietnam War reenactments. The exhibition will be on view until December 9.

“I hope people will enjoy the imagery at face value: we have work that is humorous as well as work that is contemplative,” Johnson said. “I also hope they can consider things about identity, consider assumptions about identity and the concept of bridging our cultural differences.”

Monday, September 2, 2013

New English professor publishes poem on first day teaching at Randolph

Gary Dop had good news to share on his first day teaching at Randolph College.

Dop learned today that a literary journal at Iowa State University just published his poem “The Last Thoughts of the Dying Girl.”

Dop wrote the poem for a series of persona poems that center around a murder. The poems are written from the viewpoints of a variety of people, such as the mother of the murder victim or the manager of her apartment complex. “The poem imagines the fractured thoughts of this girl as she's dying,” Dop wrote in a description of the poem. “I wanted what she said to mean nothing and everything, to sway between the moment and the dream of the moment, the dream of life.  I hoped it would be somewhat incoherent but to convey the gravity of the impending grave.”

You can read the poem here in Flyway.

Dop, an English professor, joins Randolph College after serving as the writer-in-residence at North Central University and the screenwriting faculty member in the University of Minnesota’s master of fine arts program. In addition to writing poetry, Dop dabbles in screenwriting, comedy, nonfiction, and playwriting. Father, Child, Water, his first book of poetry, will be published by Red Hen Press.